Cut down on the time you spend on cleaning and maintaining your aquarium with these tips and home hacks.
1. Introduce some other species that eat algae. Just make sure they are compatible with your fish. For fresh water, try sucking catfish (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri); plecostomus and snails. For salt water tanks, try turbo snails and Tangs. Some hermit crabs also like to eat algae.
2. Use algae scrub pads from your pet shop to clean algae from the inside walls of your aquarium. If you want to keep your hands dry, try attaching a magnet to a scrub pad which goes on the inside of the glass, while you drag it around with another magnet on the outside of the glass.
3. Discourage algae from growing by limiting the light your fish tank gets. The more light, the more algae.
4. Make your own carbon filter by putting a piece of carbon (from your pet shop) into an old pair of pantyhose and tie a knot. Cut the excess fabric and place it in your tank where it will get good water flow. Rinse your DIY filter once a week.
5. To clean an old tank, remove any fish then fill it with fresh water and two teaspoons of water cleaner. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. Empty and rinse the tank, then refill. Use a chlorine neutraliser and follow the instructions. Empty the water again and rinse. Now fill with dechlorinated water and you’re good to go.
6. Cut down on the time you spend cleaning your tank by not over-feeding your fish. Leftovers float around and they can increase the levels of toxic chemicals. Watch your fish when they are feeding. When they begin to slow down, don’t add any more food.
7. Lots of plants can help reduce the time you spend cleaning your fish tank. Hornwart is a great plant because it increases oxygen levels in the water and removes nitrogen.
8. Remove piles of debris from the gravel with a syringe.
9. Use a siphoning tube when cleaning your tank. It helps to remove dirt from the gravel at the bottom. If you remove only 25 to 30 per cent of water, there's no need to remove your fish. Just top up with fresh water.